Nine killed in Tuesday night’s landslides in KalikotEighteen people have been killed in various landslides in the district this week alone.
On Tuesday night, a landslide following heavy rainfall swept away a house at Malkot Village in Ward No. 7 of Narharinath Rural Municipality, killing seven members of a single family.
The only surviving member of the household had spent the night at his neighbour’s house, according to District Police Chief DSP Shyam Babu Oliya.
“The youngest victim of the landslide was only one-and-a-half-months old,” said Oliya.
A 19-year-old girl was rescued alive from the incident site but she passed away for want of timely treatment, according to Ramita Batala, a relative.
Dhir Bahadur Bista, the rural municipality chair, said that the only way she could be taken for treatment was via a helicopter but air rescue was unavailable because of delay in the issuance of a permit from the Home Ministry for the rescue flight.
“We had been demanding for a helicopter since 8am, but it arrived hours later,” said Bista. “If the flight was on time, we could have perhaps saved at least one person.”
Helicopter operators also lament the government’s lack of quick decision when it comes to rescue flights.
“It takes about six hours only to receive permission from the government for a rescue flight,” said Kamal Gautam, the western region in-charge of Simrik Air. “By that time, many are already dead. I have seen this kind of irony many times.”
Meanwhile, Chairman Bista said that the local unit was caught off guard by the Malkot landslide since the area was considered to be less prone to such disasters.
“Nobody had thought that such a tragic incident would occur in Malkot. Thinking it safe from such disasters, we didn’t think of moving the residents to safer locations,” Bista said.
Another person injured in a landslide that occurred on Tuesday night at Narharinath Ward No. 3 is currently receiving treatment at the ill-equipped Kumalgaun Health Post, according to Anita Budha, a survivor.
In yet another incident, a landslide that occurred at Majhgothi in Narharinath Ward No. 4 at 2am on Wednesday killed two people—a 70-year-old man and his 65-year-old wife, according to Man Bahadur Budha, principal of the local Bishwakuna Secondary.
Landslides have displaced 135 people from 25 households in Majhgothi. The displaced have been relocated to Nilkantha Basic School for the time being. According to Deputy Chair of the rural municipality Manshova Budha, at least 400 houses in the local unit are at immediate risk of landslide.
Budha said that rescue efforts have been affected, as rainfall continued throughout Wednesday. The local unit is preparing to relocate 15 households that are in immediate danger to temporary shelters in local schools.
A day earlier, on Monday, a landslide had struck Laharela in Raskot Ward No 1. Five persons are missing and feared dead in the incident.
“The search operation is ongoing,” said Yubaraj Guragain, chief district officer. “But rescue and relief work has been hampered by continuous rainfall.”
Eighteen people have been killed in various landslides in Kalikot district this week alone. Multiple landslides have also obstructed several sections of the Karnali Highway.